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Report - - Mendlesham Transmitting Station (The 1000ft Mast) - Suffolk, June 2020 | High Stuff | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Mendlesham Transmitting Station (The 1000ft Mast) - Suffolk, June 2020


LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
History:
The Mendlesam Transmitting Station, just outside Stowmarket in Suffolk, first entered service in October 1959 and provided a signal for over 2 million homes in the Eastern counties. It was at this time that the Mendlesham mast became the tallest structure in Europe, and kept the title until 1965 before it was overthrown by the 1265ft Belmont mast in Lincolnshire.
Although Mendlesham performed well throughout most of the service area, the reception was less than satisfactory in the remote western and northern outskirts, and so 2 more masts were subsequently built in the neighbouring counties to provide a stronger signal.
The switch to UHF in East Anglia from 1967 onwards did not provide a role for Mendlesham as its positioning within the county was not suitable for this purpose. The Norfolk area was to be served by Tacolneston, whilst a new BBC-built station at Sudbury would serve Suffolk and North Essex.
On the 6th of January 1984, the ITV 405-line service to East Anglia finally closed, and with no other services transmitted at that time, Mendlesham became redundant for broadcast purposes.

However, the station did eventually resume public broadcasting in November 1997, providing the transmission for independent local radio stations. Its duties were extended further in December 2001 with the addition of the Digital One DAB services, followed by the BBC National DAB service from 13 July 2010.
Nowadays, the stations remains active, and is currently under the ownership of Arqiva, who've since modified the mast given its role as East Anglia's main broadcasting centre.


Mendlesham Mast - 1960

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The Explore:
Having gotten the 4 of us together, we began to make our way up to Suffolk, not quite certain of how the night would pan out. Having read about the group of base jumpers who were taken to court for jumping the mast, I wasn't exactly 100% certain on how easy/ difficult this place would be, and whether or not they'd of tightened security since.
Now, having parked up, we decided to do what we always do, and that was to scope it out and watch for signs of activity, by which time it was already pushing 2am, and having done this just one day before the summer solstice, moving under the cover of darkness wasn't exactly an option.
With everything seemingly quiet, we advanced towards the fenced compound, which is where the real fun began. Almost instantly, I noticed the infamous red glow of 2 infrared cameras monitoring the base of the tower, but with no other option or any way to avoid them, we simply left it to chance, and just hoped nobody showed up before we made it to at least one of the middle platforms.
So eventually, and with having found a somewhat sneaky way onto the first set of ladders, we began to climb, and climb, and climb some more...
Not one of us was an active gym-goer, and so the strain on our arms soon kicked in, I was personally ready to give up at just 400ft, but with the encouragement from others, I pushed on. However, the strain began to kick in again at 700ft, and with each resting platform becoming further apart, combined with the wind almost swaying us off the ladders, we began to seriously reconsider carrying on.
However, despite my better judgment, we pressed on with the final 300ft of ladders, and with the greatest sense of achievement I've felt in a long time, we finally made it to the pinnacle of the mast after a considerably strenuous hour and a half worth of climbing.
We must've sat up there for an hour or more until sunrise, simply taking in the view and letting our arms recuperate for the descent.
Then, in the midst of the haziness below, the orange glow of the rising sun finally began to emerge from beyond the horizon, bringing a much-welcomed warmth with it, and it was that moment that made it all worthwhile... being able to witness the sunrise 1000ft above Suffolk isn't something you get to do every day.
Now, having photographed all we could, we began to make our way down, and before we knew it, we'd made it back to the first set of ladders in nearly half the time it took to get up there, and with all still quiet around the transmission buildings, we elegantly breezed out the site with a great sense of accomplishment.
All in all, 'twas an experience I'll never forget...


1. Was An Exceptionally Starry Night

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2. The First Set Of Ladders

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3. Continuing Upwards

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4. Half An Hour Before Sunrise

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5. View Across Mendlesham

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6. The Aircraft Lights Went Out

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7. Looking Down

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8. Sunrise...

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9. (I'm Aware Of The Lens flare)

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10. One Of The Tensioning Rigs

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11. Deactivated Aircraft Light

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12. The Descent

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- Thanks For Looking -
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Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Jesus thats a climb & half. Great views. You waited all that time for night shots, fair play. Looking down would make my head spin lol
 

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